Weeks after a recent rash of bike shop burglaries, thieves targeted a store in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood early Tuesday for a second time in a month, getting away with $20,000 in merchandise despite increased security.
"The high-end bikes were locked, they cut additional locks and cables up there," said Mark Mattei, owner of Cycle Smithy. "This is the first time I’ve seen this focused, hard-core approach of hitting them again and again and again."
Thieves broke through Cycle Smithy's glass front doors at around 4:25 a.m. and stole high-end bikes from the shop in the 2400 block of North Clark Street. Mattei errected fencing over his business' glass front after the last burglary on Jan. 27.
"What’s my solution?" Mattei said. "Do I just brick up the entire front of the store and put a guard at the door? Do I eliminate the glass? Do I have a bouncer, do I have a 24-hour guard? I can’t run a business that way. I don’t want to run a business that way."
More than five bike shops were hit in a matter of weeks in the Chicago area, with tens of thousands of dollars worth of bicycles being stolen.
Police have not ruled out that the crimes are connected but won’t confirm that it’s the same ring either.
Earlier this year, surveillance video showed three thieves breaking a front window at The Pony Shop in Evanston and stealing five bikes in less than a minute.
A similar scene unfolded at BFF Bikes in Bucktown where thieves have visited multiple times. Owner Annie Byrne said three bikes valued at about $5,000 were stolen. Turin Bicycle in Ravenswood was also hit.
Thieves kicked in the back door at Let’s Roast bike shop in Wicker Park. Surveillance video showed the thieves checking price tags before grabbing two bikes valued at $3,200.
Anyone with information is being asked to call detectives at 312-744-8263.